New Orleans Advocate reporters Ramon Vargas and John Simerman along with ProPublica reporters Ryan Gabrielson and T. Christian Miller and Sports Illustrated senior writer Thayer Evans chatted with readers on Thursday on reddit.com about Darren Sharper, his rape spree and the police investigations that could have stopped him earlier.
Here are some highlights:
Q: Do you think Darren was offered celebrity status and that impacted the case?
Simerman: "Yes, speaking of the New Orleans case. Our sources in New Orleans told us that police and prosecutors took extra caution before finally issuing an arrest warrant, after Sharper was already behind bars in L.A.. The police chief and the district attorney were in the loop from the early going, which is unusual. It was a high profile case, a local hero, and the level of caution was high."
Q: There are rumors that other NFL players (current and former) are involved. Did you investigation turn up any evidence of this?
Vargas: "Numerous people we spoke with would say players such as Lance Moore, Reggie Bush and especially Roman Harper were constantly seen out with Darren Sharper. They all declined to speak with us for the story; however, I absolutely, unequivocally can say that none of them have been accused by authorities of any wrongdoing. One of the co-defendants in the case made some allegations about Bush that Bush vehemently denies."
Q: Was he overdosing them to make it work faster, or was it the combination of drugs? Was there a danger they could have died?
Miller: "He was using a variety of drugs, many of which could have caused death. GHB, Valium, and Atavan in high doses, can be fatal. As to how fast they worked, a pharmacologist could better answers. But I would say that the women who reported the time were already under the influence of mind altering drugs."
Miller: "And to follow, there is no sign he used GHB -- the 'date rape drug' that is most commonly talked about in the media. He used more prosaic pharmaceutical agents like benzodiazapines, Ambien, MDMA and Quaaludes.
Q: When will we know if Sharper will be required to explain why he committed these crimes as part of his plea deal?
Simerman: "He will likely need to sign a "factual basis" as part of the guilty plea in the federal case, which should come very soon, in which he admits to at least some of the drugging-for-rape allegations. He also needs to talk to authorities about, for instance, his co-defendants, and he will be required to testify before grand juries or at trial whenever they ask. So some semblance of a confession is on the horizon.